Besides “no” Peanut’s favorite word has to be “sorry”. She thinks that it magically erases or fixes anything that she has done wrong. It doesn’t.
Peanut and Moo play fairly well together but there is a constant power struggle between them. Peanut, being the older sister, wants to be in charge which is fine with the little one. She doesn’t know any better. But when Peanut starts taking toys from Moo the conflict ensues. Moo may only be one year old but she is a bulldozer.
Yesterday, after I came home from work I kissed the family, asked the wife about her day and then started cooking dinner. The girls were playing in the living room and my wife ran into the bedroom to get some work done while the kids were occupied. They weren’t playing any game, in particular, just the typical “stand on the box of kitty litter”. Maybe it was their form of king of the hill which would explain why Peanut insisted on pushing her sister down. Moo did not mind this one bit, in fact, she found it to be quite entertaining but true to form Peanut took it one step too far.
She often does this. I don’t know if its just in her nature as a kid to be a jerk or what but during their little game Peanut wound up and slapped Moo right on the back. The first blow went unnoticed. Like I said before Moo is not made of glass. Both of them still standing on the box of litter, Peanut wound up again. I caught her this time. “Hey! Don’t!”
“Sorry”, she said as she lowered her head. “Just don’t hit your sister, it’s not nice.” I try to be a reasonable dad. I realize I can’t stop every slap, kick, punch or bite that comes their way so I really only go after them after the second incident. I feel that I won’t be able to stop any slaps and punches that life will deal them so they might as well learn to fight back. That being said I decided to step in after Moo let out a shrill. “I said stop it you two, don’t hit her, don’t slap her, just stop!” Again she shot me the puppy dog eyes and a muted “sorry”. “Don’t say ‘sorry’, stop hitting her.” She sat there for a minute and said “okaayyy” in a defeated tone.
A few minutes went by and peace was once again restored. Dinner was almost ready, my wife was now folding clothes and WAP! A small crack rang out from the living room, the exact sound a small hand makes when hitting a smaller child on the back. “That’s it you’re getting the wooden spoon!” Peanut is deathly afraid of the wooden spoon and she’s never been spanked by it. Just threatened. Timeout is our go to punishment and it seems to work for most offenses. I, on the other hand, am very familiar with the capabilities of one spoon carved out of wood. The preferred weapon of choice in many Italian households, the sleek design, aerodynamics and overall ease of use is perfect for unruly kids of all ages. I am still quite afraid of my 4-foot-11 mother and I’m turning 31 years old this year. Peanut let out a cry and started throwing a fit. I slapped the spoon against the counter and snapped with a quick “get to your room”. Chin to chest she marched down the hallway, still crying.
Moo was fine. She often is but that is not the point obviously. Peanut knows better. She knows not to hit but she still continues to do it and all she offers up is “sorry”. It drives me and my wife insane. I’ve lost count of how many times I have uttered the phrase “Don’t be sorry, just stop _____” towards her. I said it again in this situation too. I let her settle down in her room before going in there to talk to her. She apologized for hitting Moo and not listening. We don’t let her just say sorry, we ask for an apology with clarification of what she’s apologizing for. Sometimes she adds things she doesn’t need to apologize which is good that she understands what is going on but it’s absolutely infuriating because SHE UNDERSTANDS!
I get it. This is punishment for anything I did as a kid. My mother warned me about this, that I would get a kid just like me as revenge. Well, it has happened. Peanut is me as a child 100%. She’s smart, charming, and knows how to get her way. Unfortunately for her, I wrote the playbook so I’ll always be one step ahead.